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Selected Portraits

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The Blue Kimono

1914
20th Century
5 1/4 in. x 3 3/4 in.

Lydia Longacre, (September 1, 1870–June 19, 1951)

Medium and Support: watercolor on ivory
Credit Line: Florence Griswold Museum; Gift of Mrs Eleanor DelMar Revill
Accession Number: 1996.6.4
Portrait of the artist's sister, Breta, wearing a blue kimono.
During their heyday in the second quarter of the nineteenth century, miniature portraits often commemorated milestones such as birth, marriage, or death, and were exchanged as tokens of affection. After the development of photography, so-called “Revival Miniaturists”—many of them women—approached their art with a new interest in aesthetic experimentation, exploring color in larger, more complex compositions. Lydia Longacre’s emphasis on a single color and inclusion of Asian prints in the background of this delicate portrait attests to the lifelong influence of her teacher, James McNeill Whistler. Longacre’s sister, the artist Breta Longacre, served as the model for "The Blue Kimono." Both women exhibited at the Lyme Art Association.

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